*Update - Stamkos has re-signed with the Lightning (+120) and P.K. Subban has been traded to Nashville (+650).
As July first approaches, so does NHL Free Agency and the rumor mill is working overtime. If you think you’ve got the inside scoop on where players will end up, maybe you should take advantage of some props released by online sportsbooks or take a stab at a future that will drastically change with a team’s addition of a superstar.
The blue chip UFA this offseason is Steven Stamkos, a 26-year-old sniper in his prime. A free agent like this comes around maybe once a decade in the NHL so expect teams to pay up and offer the Lightning Center a contract near the maximum of $14.6 million.
Front-runners to sign the star, according to are the Tampa Bay Lightning (+105), the Detroit Red Wings (+275), the Toronto Maple Leafs (+350) and the Buffalo Sabres (+800). However, sources say Stammer is primarily interested in the Leafs and Sabres if he were to leave the Lightning. With that information, a bet on the Sabres offers plenty of value.
The Canucks are also a long-shot at +2200 to sign Stamkos after Vancouver GM Jim Benning went on a sports radio show talking about his intentions to aggressively pursue the free agent. The Nucks were nailed with a $50,000 fine for tampering because of Benning’s comments and it seems like it will all be for not, as it doesn’t look like Stammer is even considering a move to the Canadian West Coast.
We asked Adam Burns, sportsbook manager, how he thought lines would move in NHL futures with a Stamkos signing and he estimated the Leafs Stanley Cup odds would improve to 25/1, the Red Wings would improve to 12/1 and the Canadiens would move improve to 10/1, making them third favorites to hoist the Cup.
Milan Lucic is the another big name looking for a new home and a hefty contract. He is currently favored (-260) to land in Edmonton after he was caught on tape touring the Oilers facilities and some reports have actually indicated that Lucic has already signed with Edmonton. The gritty winger denies those reports but with most insiders saying Lucic will end up in Oil Country, a bet on any other team seems foolish at this point.
The amount of free agent talent available this year including names like David Backes, Kyle Okposo, Andrew Ladd and David Perron is pretty spectacular when you consider last year’s pool of forwards was headlined by Matt Beleskey – I for one, am expecting fire works.
Here are some more of the NHL Free Agency props available at: